This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

The Magic of Reality (FT review)

“Give me the child,” the Jesuit maxim is supposed to have run, “and I will give you the man”. But not if Richard Dawkins gets there first. The arch-atheist’s new book, The Magic of Reality, is designed to inoculate tender minds once and for all against the supernatural and its apologists.

Actually, not just tender minds. While it’s aimed at children of 10 and up, the text is persuasive whatever one’s age. After all, Dawkins is a populariser as well as a proselytiser; his argument, beautifully complemented here by Dave McKean’s copious illustrations, has wonderful clarity.

He starts by defining his terms. “Reality” is everything that can be apprehended directly by our five senses or indirectly by scientific instruments and scientific models. (Emotions, which might seem to be excluded by this, are part of reality too, depending for their existence “on brains ... or something equivalent to brains”.) “Magic” falls into three categories: supernatural magic, the stuff of fairy tales and myths (very bad, handle with care); stage magic, à la Penn and Teller (kind of fun, mostly); and poetic magic, when nature moves us (thumbs up, go for it). Dawkins’ purpose is to demonstrate that the real world, understood scientifically, is imbued with magic in this last sense. “Next to the true beauty and magic of the real world,” he writes, “supernatural spells and stage tricks seem cheap and tawdry by comparison.”

Read on

TAGGED: BOOKS, RICHARD DAWKINS


RELATED CONTENT

Planet of the apes

Stephen Cave - Financial Times Comments

What we really know about our evolutionary past – and what we don’t

Magic at Every Age A review of Richard...

Stacy L. Memering,Viviana A.... Comments

Magic at Every Age
A review of Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True

CCI: DAVE MCKEAN ON DAWKINS, CHRIST AND...

Andy Liegl - CBR (Comic Book... Comments

In front of a packed crowd during his panel titled "My Two Years with Dawkins, Christ and a Small Crab Called Eric" at Comic-Con International in San Diego, artist, writer and indie filmmaker Dave McKean recounted two recent life events on radically opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum: an all-ages book he illustrated with scientist and Atheism proponent Richard Dawkins called "The Magic of Reality," and a film he shot starring Michael Sheen in Port Talbot, Wales called "The Gospel of Us," a modern day interpretation of "The Passion" story chronicling Jesus Christ's final days of life on Earth.

Redeeming God in Canaan

Doctor Science - Obsidian Wings Comments

Last weekend I noticed two religion blogs, one Jewish and one evangelical (though not fundamentalist) Christian, discussing the same passages in the Bible: the ones commanding the Israelites to fight, slaughter, enslave, and dispossess the Canaanite inhabitants of the Land of Israel. To commit genocide, in fact.

The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

Oliver Kamm - The Times Comments

Review of The Magic of Reality

Dear believers: Blasphemy is good for...

John Gray - The Globe and Mail Comments

A review of The Future of Blasphemy Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights
by Austin Dacey

MORE

MORE BY NEVILLE HAWCOCK

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment